Boehner postpones House GOP elections for leader, whip

Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerEXCLUSIVE: Pro-Hillary group takes 0K in banned donations Ryan: Benghazi report shows administration's failures Clinton can't escape Benghazi responsibility MORE (R-Ohio) is postponing House GOP elections for majority leader and whip at the behest of conservatives.

House Republicans had been scheduled to vote behind closed doors Thursday for the two positions, but will now just vote on electing a Speaker to replace Boehner at that time. 

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Votes on a new majority leader and whip will not take place until after the full House votes to elect a new Speaker on Oct. 29 — the day before Boehner is to finish up as Speaker. 

It's possible those elections won't take place at all. 

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is favored to win the Speakership vote, but Rep. Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzOvernight Energy: Obama signs chemical safety reform into law House caucus to focus on business in Latin America Freedom Caucus urges vote on impeaching IRS commissioner MORE (R-Utah) insists the leader won't have the 218 votes necessary to win on the floor. Chaffetz on Sunday announced a late bid for the job. Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) is also running. 

While the Speaker nominee will only need 124 votes to win the internal GOP conference election, they must secure 218 votes during the House floor vote. It's possible conservatives determined to prevent McCarthy from winning could withhold support at that time. 

Twenty-five conservatives voted against Boehner on the floor in January — only three short of the maximum defections McCarthy or any other Speaker nominee could lose.

If McCarthy doesn't win, he'd keep his majority leader job, and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) would stay in his present position as House majority whip. 

"This new process will ensure House Republicans have a strong, unified team to lead our conference and focus on the American people’s priorities," Boehner said in a statement explaining the changes.

The change to the leadership election process could hurt Scalise's bid for majority leader against House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) since conservatives will now have more time to possibly field another candidate. Scalise told supporters Sunday evening that he had secured enough votes to win the race.

Some Republicans are also pushing changes to House GOP conference rules. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) wants all leadership candidates to resign their current posts in order to run for a promotion. Republicans may vote on such a rule change as early as this week.

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